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                 by Catharine Hoffmaster

 Frequently Asked Questions
for your special project--poem, wedding vows, family tree, etc.
How do I place an order?
1) Submit the "Get a Quote" form for your project that lists all the details needed to
    provide an estimate for you.     
2) After receiving an estimate, design ideas for your project can be discussed by phone
    with Catharine.  After a design is agreed upon and the estimate finalized, 
    information about submitting your deposit will be provided.
3) After receiving and verifying your deposit, you are emailed a sketch 
    (usually within 48 hours) of the proposed design for your approval
4) After receiving your design approval, an invoice for the remaining balance and
    payment details is emailed to you the same day. 
5) Payment of the remaining balance is verified and your order is confirmed
    A completion date and shipping date is confirmed at that time.

How much is the deposit and how do I pay?
Deposits for one-of-a-kind projects are usually $50 to $100.  After discussing the design and confirming the estimate, information is provided about submitting your online payment through PayPal or by check.  See payment details.

Can I submit just the title and author of a poem, etc. on the Get a Quote form?
Please submit the exact wording in an email (to as a 
".docx file" or ".pdf file"(as an attachment).  Online versions are not always correct.  You may prefer to submit only a portion of a lengthy piece to reduce your costs. 

How long does it take to complete my project?
This varies.  Please submit your desired completion date on the Get a Quote form to check Catharine's availability to complete your project.  All calligraphy projects require a time-slot to be reserved with an online deposit.  Costs are lower for orders placed well in advance of the desired completion date.

Do you use computer calligraphy?
No.  All projects are hand lettered by Catharine using a dip pen.  All the images shown in the Samples are actual hand lettered by Catharine.  All the illustrations shown have been hand drawn and hand painted by Catharine using the best watercolors.

What kind of paper is used?
Most projects are completed on 140 lb. Arches Watercolor paper.  This paper is acid-free and is excellent quality for original artworks.  "Antiqued" paper shown for some pieces is the same Arches paper that has been hand watercolored by Catharine to simulate aged paper while maintaining the same high quality.

What kind of inks do you use?
Only black or walnut (brown) inks are used that do not fade.
All colors are applied using gouache, an opaque watercolor, or permanent (non-fading) watercolors.
No colored inks are used since they can fade and appear "watery".

Can gold paint be used instead of the 22kt gold leaf?
Gold leaf is used exclusively since gold paint will darken with age (oxidize).
Manuscripts from centuries ago still have gold leaf that is brilliant!

Can you make my project fit into an exact size?
Sometimes.  The price reflects this request.  Designing a piece to fit a certain size and format is time-consuming.  Experimenting with different size lettering, line length, spacing between lines, etc. are all done by hand.

How do you ship the complete calligraphy?
Most artworks are carefully packaged in a sturdy 3" diameter tube and shipped Priority Mail unless otherwise arranged.  A tracking number for your shipment will be provided.

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